Yet another wireless “bill shock” from roaming while on vacation has surfaced. We’ve seen this too many times – see here, here and here.
This time around it’s Matt Buie, a financial planner from Burnaby B.C., and his 11-year-old son Mike. Here’s the details of this soap opera: the family has an iPhone hooked onto Fido and took a trip down to Mexico. They decided not to purchase a roaming package and before arriving, by the advise from the Apple Store, put the iPhone on ‘airplane mode’ to ensure he won’t receive any roaming charges. While basking in the sun Mike gets sunburnt and his parents say he can chill in the hotel room to play video games on the iPhone. This apparently lasted 3 days. Beyond playing games, 11-year-old Mike turned off airplane mode and started to stream about 12-hours of YouTube videos. According to Rogers the bill quickly skyrocketed to 700 megabytes of data and a baffling $22,000 charge.
Buie said “When I heard $22,000 and my son happened to hear $22,000, he went into a fetal position and was crying. It was just mind boggling for him.”
Fido, owned by Rogers, has safe measures in place to alert customers of roaming overages. In this case Fido sent a text message to Buie and stated his account was going to be turned off “for security reasons” due to “excessively high” data charges. Buie said “I made a mistake here — as his father — and he made a mistake. He turned off the airplane mode and was watching YouTube videos. I should have taken the SIM card out… or not let him use the phone. That’s guilt that I have to live with. I clearly should have known better.”
Fido immediately reduced the amount down from $22,000 to a manageable $2,200. However, even though he acknowledged this massive charge is his error, Buie thinks Fido isn’t doing enough. “It is gouging. It is $20 in Mexico [for domestic customers] to get the same amount of data [700 MB] from their carrier and it is $40 to get the same amount of data while in Canada… I don’t think many Canadians would actually escalate this to the degree that I am doing here, but one of the reasons I am doing this is, this is just wrong and unfair business practices.”
Jennifer Kett, Rogers spokesperson, stated “It’s very unfortunate this customer had this experience. When this type of situation happens, we have internal processes in place to identify these customers and their usage prior to their bill being sent out and then we proactively work with them towards a resolution.”
Buie is willing to pay Fido a total of $200 for, again, his error. Surely as a wise financial planner Buie is prepared for life’s unexpected emergencies.
Update: Fido has surprisingly agreed to reduce the bill to $500. VERY nice of them.